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Professor Cook's A Literary Middle English Reader (Ginn and Co.) is the
book for which we have been waiting. Its matter, classified with reference to
types, includes selections from romances, tales, chronicles, stories of travel,
religious and didactic pieces, illustrations of life and manners, translations,
lyrics, and plays. With this varied and abundant offering it will now be
possible to study at close range in the classroom material that will give at once
the needed training in language and the equally needed stimulus for further
reading. Persons who have tried to buy Matzner's Sprachproben and to read
it after it was bought, will regret only that Professor Cook's Reader did not
appear in time to save their patience and their eyes. Clear type on good
paper, wide margins, an introduction for each specimen, and abundant glos-
sarial notes at the foot of the page, — these are features of the book that teacher
and student will welcome. The introduction contains a section on the litera-
ture, which not only introduces but recommends the specimens, and an admir-
ably compact section on the language.
The Pronoun of Address in English Literature of the Thirteenth Century by
Arthur Garfield Kennedy (Leiand Stanford Junior University Publications,
pp. 91), is a study which endeavors to fix the date of the first appearance of the
use of the "pluralis reverentiae" or "formal singular," as Mr. Kennedy
terms it. Upon the basis of an extensive reading of texts he comes to the
conclusion that the first occurrences are those in "Genesis and Exodus,"
approximately 1250 A.D. The use of the formal singular in the latter half
of the thirteenth century is "sporadic and seems rather the occasional re-
flection of a practice familiar in some other tongue or at least in some other
class of society than that of most of the English literature of the century."
The author admits that he has found no positive evidence to prove either of
these theories, but is inclined to believe that the formal singular in large part
arose under the influence of the French in use at the English court. A useful
bibliography accompanies the treatise.
Dr. Joseph J. Reilly's James Russell Lowell as a Critic (G. P. Putnam's Sons,
1915) examines in seven chapters Lowell's intellectual and temperamental
equipment as a critic. The study, unlike those which overlook the author in
favor of literary fashions and influence, reviews the critic's literary output
with constant and iHuminating reference to bis personality. The method is
clearly the best, if not the only one, for the rubject in hand; for although
Dr. Reilly in passing suggests Lowell's kinship with English and Scottish
temperamental reviewers of the old school, the waywardness of the American
makes him, whatever the school, more of a truant than a scholar. And yet a
truant within bounds. A certain connoisseurship in taste and morals kept
him the eclectic and the puritan, a provincial at the centre of bis circle of
friends and books. Never a citizen in the larger republic of letters, with
neither science nor philosophy to guide his steps, he enjoyed the franchise of
the ardent lover of Dante, Chaucer, and Shakespeare. For Goethe he had
imperfect sympathy. How far he fell short of Arnold's singleness of pur-
pose, of Coleridge's depth, of Lamb's insight, of Hazlitt's "steady lucidity and
consistence," Dr. Reilly has made clear by analysis and citation. The book
is furnished with a bibliography and an index.
In his Collected Literary Essays, Classical and Modern (Cambridge: at the
University Press, 1913) Dr. Verrall deals chiefly with classical themes. The
Reviews and Xotes 325
modern essays deal with The Prose of Walter Scott and Diana of the Crossviays.
In the former there is an analysis of the passage in Guy Mannering in
which Meg Merrilies denounces Bertram of Ellaryowan, and some comment
upon "Wandering Willie's Tale" in Redgauntlet, 'the analysis and comment
being offered with a view to showing that Scott's style and technique, though
usually loose, is on occasion carefully considered and well-ordered. The
second of the two modern essays, originally contributed by the writer to
the National Home-reading Union, detaches wit from Meredith's characteristics
as the most salient trait of his mind and art, a wit that is sometimes trans-
formed into eloquence, sometimes sparkles in repartee, and again degenerates
into a sort of perverse and vertiginous word play.
Mr. K. Sisam has published at the Clarendon Press (Oxford, 1915) a revised
edition of Skeat's Lay of Bavelok the Dane. The original Introduction has been
remodelled with a view to incorporating the results of work which has been
published since the appearance of the first edition. The notes to the second
edition are mostly new, and its glossary has undergone careful revision. The
book contains, too, a collation of the Cambridge Fragment made by Professor
Berkeley and Percival by Benjamin Rand (Cambridge: at the University
Press, 1914) is a scholarly and typographically beautiful edition of the corres-
pondence of George Berkeley. The letters, most of which belong to the period
between September 1709 and December, 1730, are taken from manuscripts in
possession of the Earl of Egmont. With very few exceptions they have been
printed for the first time in the volume before us. To these are added a score
or so of excerpts from Percival's Journal. A Biographical Commentary, which
is both substantial and entertaining, provides such information as is necessary
for elucidating the text. The book contains five plates; two of Berkeley, two of
Percival, and one of Berkeley's residence in Rhode Island.